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Red Alert - Soccer Clubs In Crisis

Updated on September 30, 2013

It isn't always smooth sailing as these clubs have found out. Here are teams that are in dire conditions and need change now. This post will be updated as conditions change for the better and worse.

Source

Heart Of Midlothian - Scottish Premier League

The Issue: Heart Of Midlothian filed for administration on June 17th, 2013, with debts of over 25 million pounds.

Urgency: The Scottish Football Association imposed a 15 point penalty on Hearts, putting them at -15 points before the season even started. 8 games into the season, they are now a -7 points. Their financial situation is no better however, with Hearts still in administration and still searching for a buyer. 7/10

How To Fix It - There's no straight-forward answer here, since I can't magically conjure a buyer. The best possible situation would be to sell the club to the supporter-run Foundation of Hearts, which is a group that the Hearts' supporters groups formed in order to launch a takeover bid. It has the backing of Supporters Direct Scotland and Parliament Member Ian Murray. Their biggest opponent appears to be a group of Norwegian businessmen who are close to re-submitting a bid after their first one was rejected. The buying price of the club is rumored to be around 500k-2M.

The administrators should make an effort to sell the club to the Foundation of Hearts, as clubs in this situation have often found themselves in worse spots after selling to shady groups. Foundation of Hearts are the only group that have fully revealed themselves during this process, and the club will be better off in the hands of the supporters than anyone else's.

Source

Coventry City - Sky Bet League One

The Issue: The supporters are in constant disputes with the club's owners, with their most recent dispute over the decision to have the team play their home games at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium, a 30 minute drive away from Coventry. These disputes started with previous owners refusing to pay the rent at the Ricoh Arena, sending the club into Administration.

Urgency: The disputes between the supporters and owners are ongoing, and it doesn't seem like they will stop anytime soon. In the meantime, Coventry are averaging an attendance of 2,026 people through 4 games, currently worst in League One. 10/10

How To Fix It: The best thing that current owners Otium Entertainment Group can do is bring Coventry City back to Coventry. Forcing Coventry fans to travel to Northampton to see their 'home' games is disgraceful. Whether the games are played at the Ricoh Arena or another stadium in the Coventry area, it will bring the supporters back and help the club move on. The owners of the Ricoh Arena have offered several times to go back to the negotiating table to find a proper rent, and it's time for the owners to do so. If the Otium Entertainment Group refuses to move the team back to Coventry, they should at least offer to let the fans purchase the club. They are Coventry City, not Northampton City.

Source

Chivas USA - Major League Soccer

The Issue: This is a team in disarray. The owners attempted to attract the local Latino population by selling all of the club's non-latino players, most of which left a ridiculously low prices. This backfired, and the club is the worst in the league in both record and attendance.

Urgency: Chivas are now the laughingstock in the league, although their problems are no laughing matter. The fans are coming to the games, and rumors are starting to swirl that Chivas' spot in the league is in jeopardy. 8/10

How To Fix It: Major League Soccer must get Chivas back on track. So far, the league hasn't put the pressure on Chivas to put some effort into improving their condition. Chivas has a USL team rather than a MLS team, and if they don't step it up, Major League Soccer should issue a warning. Chivas is bringing the league down, but their situation is fixable. Their owners need to invest great un players of all ethnicities during the next transfer window, as the 'Latino Revolution' was a failure. Chivas misses out on bringing top quality to their team because of this rule, and it stops people who would normally come to a Chivas game from going if they feel they aren't represented.

What Team Is In The Most Dire Circumstances?

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    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 4 years ago

      @Nlazar,

      Fair enough, I just feel that Chivas Guadalajara never meant for Chivas USA to have their own youth players. I think they always saw this is a way to extend Chivas guadalajara's system, and with the lack of success on the pitch feel validated in minimizing Chivas USA as much as possible.

      But, considering the US governments partial shutdown, lets focus on how to solve the problem.

      MLS wants every side in MLS to be engaged with its youth, getting healthy and experienced players and producing a strong product on the pitch.

      Chivas G. wants a USA branch to aid in developing their players.

      What's the middle ground? The only option I see is if Chivas G. is willing to become a part owner of Chivas USA [with rules and stipulations] and allow another party [individual or collective] to become a big shareholder of the club and sequentially fund a more multiracial side with youth development and engaged coaching to fit MLS's desires while accepting Chivas G.'s requirement of putting in Chivas G. youth players in the side and still having a swing toward the mexican culture. Outside of that solution, i don't see Chivas USA ever getting better. Chivas G. have no reason to change on their own. Chivas USA is what Chivas G. wants. MLS can't force a change because the other owners would fear MLS having that power on their own clubs in the future. So, MLS needs to convince Chivas G. to accept a new big shareholder with serious protections and provisions to Chivas G.'s interest. What plan do you have in mind?

    • nlazar profile image
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      N. Lazar 4 years ago from USA

      @Richard-Murrray

      What I meant was that Chivas USA isn't focusing on developing their youth players. While several promising Chivas Guadalajara are currently on loan at the club, it's stopped the growth of several Chivas USA youth players who can't break into the first team now.

    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 4 years ago

      Nlazar

      wait a minute, Chivas guadalajara didnt hide their intent from MLS when MLS asked for Chivas to be made in the first place. LEt's not forget that. Chivas G. said they wanted to make chivas usa a place for their youth players and center it around mexicans. MLS said yes. Chivas is a very big team and if they had issues financing the club, they would say so. I think Chivas was smart, MLS wanted a second club in LA and came begging. Chivas wanted a brand in the USA and a way to strengthen their development system and did it. I must admit

      so hearts debt is circa 700k and to own the team is 500k to 2Million so maximum is circa 2.7 Million. that isn't a lot of money, some top players could buy the club, but then why would they want something in midlothian.

    • nlazar profile image
      Author

      N. Lazar 4 years ago from USA

      Interestingly enough, Hearts only have a debt of around 700k right now.

    • nlazar profile image
      Author

      N. Lazar 4 years ago from USA

      Honestly, I would take Orlando City, Charlotte or even Rochester over Chivas any day. At least with the perennial losers in other leagues, they develop their youth. I can't say the same for Chivas.

    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 4 years ago

      I think each is a different case. Hearts are a relatively big team in scotland and need to rebound. 500k to 2M isnt the largest amount of money but i imagine their are larger debts that any new owner would incur which makes things hard. Coventry is a tier 2 club in england and their problem is the smallest, as the ownership needs to sell the club to someone willing in coventry or sell it to the supporters, as you say.

      Both of those cases prove that fan ownership needs to be enforced in europe when clubs are having problems with individual owners. I think that should be immediately enforced with womens soccer in UEFA and all other places except North america.

      To Chivas, I personally don't think chivas is in trouble. In the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, there are perennial losers. This is bound to happen in any league without relegation and promotion. MLS must respect that. the only thing that seperates chivas usa from the pittsburgh pirates, phoenix coyotes and etc is that they have a cultural policy which is of a common form outside the USA but is deemed inappropriate for the USA, which I think is cultural nonsense considering this countries social ways. Look at the Los Angeles Clippers, it has taken many years for that team to become decent on a year to year basis, MANY YEARS, Chivas isn't breaking any records for mediocrity. AND, since their is no relegation and promotion, i disagree with you about Chivas being a USL side, it is just a bad mls side that can't be relegated.